I want to be truthful. It is a hard kind of truthful. The kind that makes you cringe and stress-eat Cheez-Its. It is an uncomfortable truth that is only that way because we make it. I don’t want it to be uncomfortable anymore. So, family and friends who blush easily, this may be too much for you.
I want to talk about porn. It’s cool if you’d like to stop reading now. I get it. Go find the Cheez-Its. I’ll eat my Cheez-Its after I post this.
When I married my husband, I was an insecure woman. To this day, I still struggle with some of those insecurities. Past relationships have scarred my view of monogamy. I know it is possible to be committed, but I also know how easy it is for a person to get distracted. Last November, I was randomly checking my husband’s browser history. I know, I know … “randomly.” I honestly never check his browser history, just his text messages. Upon my random dig, I found some things. My husband had looked at about a dozen pictures of a naked woman. She wasn’t just any naked woman. She was a porn star. I immediately texted him about it in my usual, laid-back, passive-aggressive style. “Yo, found some sketch stuff on your iPad.” I played it totally cool.
To be honest, I wasn’t really mad. I had always assumed that porn was just a part of a man’s life. Granted, I thought that part of his life dissipated after finding his one true love. I may or may not watch a lot of romantic comedies. In the course of my life, I had never really been exposed to porn. I mean, I had seen late-night, soft-core stuff on HBO in passing, but I have never sat down and watched a porn in its entirety. Sure, there were times in high school, where porn was made into a joke and everyone laughed. But never had I been forced to deal with it in a relationship.
When I confronted my husband, he denied it. I like to consider myself a kind of Olivia Pope in these matters. Lie to me about a politician having a wooden arm and I will completely believe you. Lie to me about looking at naked women or cheating on me? I will Scandal it out of you. When it comes to lust, I trust my gut. This time my gut was telling me he was full of it. It also helped that he told me someone must have hijacked his internet to do this. I’m not an IT expert, nor do I have a criminal record of any sort, but I’m pretty sure that is a bit farfetched. I was so upset about the fact that he was lying (and lying poorly) that I never had time to be hurt or feel scorned. It wasn’t until hours later that he confessed and we sat in our pastor’s living room and hashed it all out. We laughed and hugged and forgave.
Days later, a pain developed in my heart that I couldn’t ignore. I began to question everything. Why did he look at that specific girl? Did he even love me? I don’t look anything like that girl. We both have a face, two hands, and two feet. From the looks of it, that was all we had in common. Unless she usually wears glasses and decided to take them off for the photo shoot. Totally a possibility. We could have bad vision in common, but that wasn’t apparent in the photos. Did he find her more attractive than me? Did I not make him happy? Should I get plastic surgery to look like that woman? How much would that cost me? These photos led me to question the entire foundation of our marriage. Would he cheat on me? Was he cheating on me? Who did I really marry? If he could lie about porn, could he lie about other things? Was he a serial killer? How did he really feel about dog fighting? I know I am dramatic, but this is what happens in my mind when lies are revealed. I go to drastic places. Then I thought … What would happen if we removed the taboo?
What if porn became a topic we all discussed openly? What if it became an okay thing to talk about?
We have been very open about this incident (which I refer to as Porngate 2014). We wanted people to know. In being transparent, we learned we were not the first to have this come up in our marriage. We weren’t alone. Also, I have learned a lot about the drama that porn causes, not just in relationships, but also internally in its viewers. Did you know that when viewing porn, your body releases the same chemicals that it does when you do cocaine? Did you know that habitually watching porn can lead you to be less satisfied with your significant other? Did you know that porn is legitimately harmful to your brain? Did you know porn is not real life? Yep, completely fictional. Shocking, I know.
I am not a feminist. Not in any way really. Which is kind of sad, but it is who I am. I applaud and admire those women who can juggle both work and home life, but I am not one of them. I am quite lazy in that regard. I’m old school and enjoy cleaning my house and cooking for my husband. I say all that because I want you all to know I’m not just screaming about how porn hurts women. Women clearly have a major role in this industry. I’m not sure porn stars are offered health insurance, but from what I hear they make pretty good money. The industry as a whole kind of slays it when it comes to bringing in cash. And why wouldn’t it? Sex sells. A lot. I’m not trying to burn my bra or anything. Rather, I am just being open about what porn can do to both you and your spouse. Women aren’t the only ones to feel cheated by porn. Listen to what Russell Brand recently said about it:
This video moved me. I know that sounds cheesy. I kind of hated Russell for breaking Katy’s heart, but now I love him again. Anyone with the cojones to stand up and say, “I’m a man and I’m not cool with this” is gangster in my book.
I am so grateful for this experience. It has opened my eyes to so much. My husband and I have laughed and cried over this. We have grown closer. We have started open conversations with friends about this. While there is still guilt and shame attached to it, we have and will continue to fight it. There is an encouraging grace that comes with getting this real about our struggles.
For more info about porn and how it affects our bodies, go here: